Central England Co-op take on eight Mercedes-Benz eVitos

Central England Co-op is now using eight Mercedes-Benz eVitos with zero tailpipe emissions to deliver food and drink to customers.

The retailer is trialling its new services after linking up with online shopping platforms, Appy Shop and Snappy Shopper. Using their apps, shoppers can choose items which are picked and packed at local Central England Co-op stores. They are then delivered in mid-sized eVito PURE models supplied by Midlands Truck & Van.

The eVito produces zero tailpipe emissions and allows businesses to meet their carbon-reduction targets without having to compromise on practicality or performance.

Charging points have been installed at participating stores. The Appy Shop trial is operating from selected outlets in Norfolk, Leicestershire and Staffordshire, and allows customers to select a timed delivery slot. The Snappy Shopper initiative, which commits to deliver within the hour, is focused on Birmingham and Derby.

The vans are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreement. Mercedes-Benz Vans and Midlands Truck & Van have held training sessions in Birmingham and Derby to ensure the retailer’s drivers achieve the best performance and efficiency from their electric vans.

The eVito’s 41 kWh battery is mounted in a protective housing beneath the floor, which means it does not impinge on the 6.0m3 of cargo area offered by Central England Co-op’s long L2 variants. Given that deliveries are relatively local, the vehicle’s range of about 93 miles is ample. So, too, is its 923kg payload.

The eVito PURE also comes in extra-long L3 form, with a 6.6m3 load volume and 898 kg carrying capacity. Meanwhile, eVito versions with the PROGRESSIVE trimline benefit from extra features but incur corresponding slight payload reductions.

Central England Co-op transport manager, Gary Tomlinson, said: “The impact of our operations on the environment sits at the heart of every decision we make, which is why the eco-credentials of the vehicles we were going to use to launch these two new services had to be front and centre. The eVito’s zero emissions driveline is a key selling point for both services and is heavily promoted in all of our marketing activities, as well as on the vans themselves.

“We researched the environmentally-friendly vehicle market thoroughly before concluding that the eVito represented the best fit for our business. It is perfectly sized for our requirements, and the sliding load doors on both sides are a definite advantage when loading and making deliveries.”

The eVito’s electric motor produces 114hp and drives the front wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is instantaneous, while top speed is restricted as standard to 50mph, although this can be increased on request. The steering wheel-mounted selectors allow drivers to choose between C, E and E+ (Comfort, Eco and Extended range) settings. “The feedback from colleagues who are using these vehicles every day has been entirely positive. They appreciate the eVito’s quietness and comfort, as well as its all-round driveability.”

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Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now the editor of our three commercial vehicle titles: The Van Expert, The Truck Expert and Commercial Vehicle Engineer.

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